Page 2183 - Week 07 - Thursday, 29 June 2023

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community legal centres for new positions in our heavy-lifting agencies, such as the Aboriginal Legal Services, Legal Aid, and the Women’s Legal Centre.

For so many Canberrans, it is the green spaces and natural environment that make Canberra a great city. That is why the announcement to invest $24.2 million to support tree maintenance and planting across our city and the implementation of the new Urban Forest Act is so crucial. This will further our joint commitment in the Parliamentary and Governing Agreement to reach a 30 per cent urban tree canopy across Canberra.

Our environment is under threat like never before. The 2020 bushfires destroyed ecosystems and habitat for many of our native animals. Recent changes have added another nine new plants and animals to the vulnerable, endangered or critically endangered list. The Canberra grassland earless dragon is now considered critically endangered in the ACT, and the gang-gang cockatoo, mountain skink, southern greater glider, koala, and keys matchstick grasshopper are all endangered.

To care for our urban biodiversity sanctuary, we will be investing a further $5.8 million into conserving and restoring Canberra’s natural environment. It is going to make a difference, but it is not enough to meet the scale of the biodiversity crisis. With the future of 60 plants and animals hanging in the balance, we need immediate action to safeguard our natural environment. That is why my colleague the Minister for the Environment, Minister Vassarotti, has insisted on this package which will allow the ACT to take on the challenge of combatting invasive weeds and species which have flourished during the La Niña years. This package also includes habitat restoration for endangered flora and fauna, programs to address the widespread decline and biodiversity across the ACT, and funding to support the implementation of the Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary Strategy.

The ACT Greens love that almost a third of our city’s residents are born abroad, with even more of us having family overseas. Our city’s diversity is what makes it strong, which is why the annual celebration of our National Multicultural Festival is so important. We are delighted to see a further $3.3 million invested in the festival over the next three years.

I conclude by reflecting that Canberra is a growing city. As more people realise what a great place this is to live, we need to ensure our city responds to the needs of those who call it home. As a government, we need to ensure that we make the right choices for the people and for the planet as our city grows. Obviously, there is compromise and we do not get everything we want, but we are proud of the role we play in making Canberra the most green and progressive city in the country. Our work is far from done. We know many Canberrans are doing it tough. We need to take bold steps to address the growing inequality crisis. We need to address the systematic issues that are creating a growing divide between the rich and the poor, and we Greens are committed to doing that, both locally and federally.

This is a good budget. It has some great initiatives for Canberra. This budget will make the ACT kinder, greener and more resilient, with more investment in housing, investment in an all-electric city—the sustainability city of the future—well-insulated homes, justice reinvestment instead of prisons, tackling the root causes of crime,


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